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Phil Perry: Patriots Defense Has 'Gotten Better', But Falcons Are Real 'Litmus Test'

BOSTON (CBS) -- The Patriots defense has shown signs of improving in their last two games, but how much have they really been tested? It will be easier to gauge where they are as a unit when the high-powered Falcons come to Foxboro next Sunday night.

NBC Sports Boston's Phil Perry talked about the Patriots' defensive improvement with 98.5 The Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich on Tuesday and acknowledged that the Patriots still have problems on that side of the ball. But the Pats haven't been quite as bad as they were in the first four weeks of the season and showed more signs of improvement on Sunday.

"I think what the Patriots are concerned about is that the communication has gotten better," said Perry. "That's not to say it's perfect, but you're not seeing the complete and total breakdown in coverages like the way you saw against Carolina, which for them is a good thing.

"There were still plenty of issues [against the Jets] ... I do think they have gotten better, though."

Devin McCourty
Devin McCourty celebrates his interception with Duron Harmon. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

Perry added that the Falcons offense, despite having lost two games in a row, will present a "legitimate litmus test" for the Patriots defense. That's particularly true for the secondary, who didn't get as much of a test from the less-talented Jets and Buccaneers.

The Patriots still made some key defensive plays against the Jets. One of them was Malcolm Butler and Duron Harmon jarring the ball loose from Austin Seferian-Jenkins and causing the controversial fumble/touchback call that everyone talked about after the game. Perry, like many others, couldn't believe the officials claimed they had more than enough evidence to overturn the call.

"It's still really tough to tell on the replay," said Perry. "And what I keep going back to is that if it's so tough to tell on the replay, I'm not sure how they overturned it, because its supposed to be clear and obvious to be able to overturn a call that was made on the field."

Malcolm Butler, Duron Harmon, Austin Seferian-Jenkins - New England Patriots v New York Jets
Austin Seferian-Jenkins of the New York Jets runs the ball against Duron Harmon and Malcolm Butler during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. Seferian-Jenkins originally scored a touchdown, but was later ruled to have fumbled. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Perry also talked about Stephon Gilmore's mysterious concussion, as well as what he thought of Fred Toucher's physical therapist's advice regarding resistance bands. Listen to the full interview above!

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